Wow. What a year. I think it’s safe to say that 2020 was hard. Really hard. Unexpectedly hard. I distinctly remember sitting at my neighbor’s house on December 31, 2019 playing cards and toasting in the New Year while all the kiddos watched a movie downstairs, most, or all, in some stage of nearly sleeping. At that moment, not a single one of us had any idea what would soon become a crashing reality. A global pandemic. To be completely honest, even after almost a whole year of living in this crazy COVID time, I still find myself in a state of shock and often find myself asking “is this real life?”
And yet here we are, freshly welcomed in the New Year. 2021. A year, I think, we have globally been anxiously awaiting. And while I can completely understand the sentiment of wanting a New Year, a fresh start, I do want to take a moment to stop. To pause. To ponder.
2020, while undoubtedly hard, was, dare I say, a gift. A year of growth. Because out of all the ashes of lost jobs, homeschooling, fear, and death there was this presence, this knowledge, of leaning in. Leaning into the hard. Leaning into the tough. And most of all, leaning into God. Because He is good. He is always good. And when we give Him our hard. Our hurt. And our heartbreak, He will create something beautiful out of those ashes.
Rushed mornings morphed into slow breakfasts at the kitchen table turned school table. Afternoons were spent exploring the backfield and learning about this big beautiful world outside. We baked. A lot. We fought. A lot. We learned how to push each other’s buttons and how to care for one another’s hearts. Long family walks became a weekend tradition and “Sleepover Saturday” was the highlight each and every week.
I learned that I can not do and be all the things. That my pushing and pulling and striving and working didn’t matter to my family. They just wanted to play Go-Fish with me. To laugh. To have silly living room dance parties. To admire every leaf and branch and wildflower they lovingly picked and brought home to show me.
So while I am certainly hopeful for what 2021 holds for us all. I do not want to let 2020 go without having a grateful heart. Because in and through the hurt and hardships, the tough and tragedy, that this crazy year brought, it gave me a beautiful gift of presence. To simply be. To simply look. To simply listen. And to simply love.